Hungry Venus Flytraps Snap Shut on a Host of Unfortunate Flies

Carnivorous plants can be thought of as mavericks of the plant kingdom. When faced with limited resources, these botanical marvels tend to bend the rules to come up with clever solutions! There are over 800 species of predatory plants all over the globe! 

 

Many carnivorous plants, like the Venus flytrap, have evolved as a response to swamp-like habitats. These ecosystems often lack nitrogen—a key plant nutrient. With time, these plants adapted to attract and capture a nitrogen-rich meal: insects. When an insect finally lands on the plant, the jaws of the flytrap snap shut, trapping the unsuspecting critter for their nitrogen fix! 

 

Some predatory plants have a way of first charming and then disarming their prey. While it may seem like the plant is offering a sweet treat, like nectar, carnivorous flora use this nectar as bait to snatch up their visitor. 

 

These charms don’t just work on small insects! The pitcher plant has managed to lure in larger creatures, like lizards, bats, and even rodents, by setting up a pitfall trap that is quite difficult to climb out of. Although they have evolved unique capturing mechanisms, scientists have found that these plants aren’t very picky about their prey.

 

No matter how they choose to digest their food, predatory flora often highlight the many weird but wonderful ways plants function and evolve to relate to their habitats and each other! 

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